Monday February 12 2018, Daily News Digest

credit immigrants

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi loan performance suffers, earnings projections missed. Ant Financial to pursue equity fundraising at potential $100B valuation. Elevate publishes FY 2017 results. Symphony, OpenFin join forces. Openwrks, Zopa, TrueLayer get into open banking. Rupeek raises $6.8M. Today’s main analysis: MPL securitizations comparison (SoFi 2018-A, MFT 2018-1, SCLP 2018-1). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley investors fund […]

credit immigrants

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Australia

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

SoFi Reports Disappointing Earnings as Loan Performance Suffers (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Customers of online lender Social Finance Inc. are missing their loan payments at an unexpectedly high rate, a misstep for a company that has boasted that its focus on high-earning individuals would yield better borrowers.

The privately held San Francisco-based company said it missed its internal fourth-quarter earnings projections, due in part to a markdown in the “value of certain personal loan assets due to lower-than-expected credit performance,” according to a letter to investors that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The company also cited increased hiring costs and expenses related to recent management changes.

You won’t believe how much grads from these top business schools rake in (Moneyish), Rated: A

SoFi examined 60,000 student loan refinancing applications to determine which MBA programs churn out the highest earners, and which produce grads who are mired in student debt.

According to SoFi, these are the top 10 business schools, ranked by average salary three years after graduation:

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business): $224,034
2. Columbia University: $189,295
3. Stanford University: $186,534
4. Harvard University: $184,463
5. University of California, Berkeley: $171,270
6. Dartmouth College: $169,498
7. Northwestern University: $167,770
8. Cornell University: $167,544
9. University of Chicago: $166,215
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $165,666

These 10 programs have the best salary-to-debt ratio in the US:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison: Avg. salary = $122,532; avg. debt = $52,568
2. Brigham Young University: Avg. salary = $114,559; avg. debt = $50,224
3. Harvard University: Avg. salary = $184,463; avg. debt = $83,337
4. Stanford University: Avg. salary = $186,534; avg. debt = $85,443
5. Villanova University: Avg. salary = $136,464; avg. debt = $63,014
6. University of Pittsburgh: Avg. salary = $149,157; avg. debt = $71,471
7. Loyola University, Maryland: Avg. salary = $122,915; avg. debt = $59,029
8. North Carolina State University: Avg. salary = $92,184; avg. debt = $46,140
9. University of Florida: Avg. salary = $110,942; avg. debt = $56,035
10. University of Houston: Avg. salary = $105,476; avg. debt = $54,308

Elevate Announces Full Year 2017 Results (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate’s  Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights are the following:
  • Fourth quarter GAAP net loss due to federal tax law charge, but fourth consecutive quarter of net income on an adjusted basis: Fourth quarter 2017 net loss totaled $12.2 million, or $(0.29) per diluted share, reflecting a one-time $12.5 million charge associated with the change in the federal tax law resulting from the tax reform in 2017. Excluding the impact from the tax law change, net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 would have been $0.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $4.4 million, or $(0.34) per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2016. The net loss for full-year 2017 totaled $6.9 million, or $(0.20) per diluted share. Excluding the impact of the federal tax law, net income for full year 2017 would have been $5.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $22.4 million, or $(1.74) per diluted share, for full-year 2016.
  • 16% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 14.5% from the fourth quarter of 2016 and were up 16.0% for full-year 2017 versus 2016. Revenues totaled $193.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $169.0 million for the prior-year period. Full-year 2017 revenues totaled $673.1 million compared to $580.4 million for full-year 2016.
  • More than 28% year-over-year growth in combined loans receivable – principal: Combined loans receivable – principal totaled $618.4 million, a 28.5% increase from $481.2 million for the prior-year period. The Rise installment loan and Elastic line of credit combined loans receivable – principal balances as of December 31, 2017 were up 19.6% and 47.4% over the prior year-end balances, respectively.
  • Adjusted EBITDA up 45% compared to prior year: 2017 Adjusted EBITDA totaled $87.5 million, up 44.7% from $60.4 million in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 13% for both the fourth quarter of 2017 and full-year 2017.
  • The ending combined loan loss reserve as a percentage of combined loans receivable was 14.3%, lower than the 16.1% reported for the prior-year period due to the improved credit quality and the continued maturation of the loan portfolio. Charge-offs as a percentage of originations for full-year 2017 continued to trend below previous years at less than 25% of principal originations.
  • The total number of new customers acquired during the fourth quarter of 2017 was approximately 95,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $231, below the targeted range of $250-$300. This represented a 34.6% increase over the approximately 70,000 new customers acquired in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Equity Market Volatility, GS Dialing Up M&A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Volatility made an abrupt return to capital markets after a nearly 18 month hiatus. Equity markets dropped almost 10% from their peaks, as investors focused on rising US treasury yields. 10-year yields touched 2.88% – nearly a four-year high. Corporate bonds (CDX.IG spreads) widened 5bps this week to 60bps, while high-yield widened 16bps to 353bps.

US consumer credit grew by $18.4 Bn in December 2017, at an annualized growth rate of 7.7%. Revolving credit card debt increased by $5.1 Bn to $1.03 Tn, the highest on record. Consumer spending has boosted US GDP, although the increasing cost of leverage and rising rates could create a drag on growth.

GS M&A Accelerating

Source: PeerIQ

 

Source: PeerIQ

Taking a cut of student’s future paychecks has Silicon Valley investors funding education (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The model is attracting a new generation of startups, as well as investors, eager to bail out American students drowning in $1.3 trillion in student debt. The Brookings Institute estimates as much as 40% of students who entered college in the early 2000s may default on their loans by 2023, based on historical trends.

One of the first firms to enter the US market was the Chilean firm Lumni founded in 2002 (although it only came to the US in 2009) followed by 13th Avenue (2009), Cumulus Funding (2011), Upstart (2012), Pave (2012), and Vemo (2015). Not all are still signing ISAs, but current interest seems to be based on growing demand.

Are income-sharing arrangements a good deal for students?

The federal government already provides more than $200 billion (paywall) in grants, loans, and work-study assistance for students’ post-secondary education each year. Private lenders hand out about $8 billion in student loans annually, estimates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Parents and family contribute still more.

Almost 60% of college graduates in the US carry student debt, and about 57% of Americans regard it as a major problem, reports the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Yet many are not even confident their college educations are still the golden ticket they once were. A 2017 survey of 32,000 college students revealed only one-third felt prepared to enter the job market, while only half said their major will lead to a good job.

Four-year universities like Purdue are using them as a way to show their commitment to students as much as reduce their financial burden. The school’s program, Back a Boiler (an abbreviation of the nickname for the student body known as Boilermakers), is offering 175 students almost $2 million in ISA funding. Graduates with high income never pay more than 2.5 times their original ISA amount, while those earning less than $20,000 a year see their payments go to $0.

MissionU, a one-year training program in data analytics and business intelligence, offers students a blended online (80%) and in-person curriculum (20%), and work experience. It charges no tuition. After graduates earn at least $50,000, they pay back 15% of their income for the first three years.

 

2 startups are joining forces — and together they could pose a threat to Bloomberg (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Symphony, a messaging service that has gained some traction among Wall Street firms, has been integrated into OpenFin, an operating system built for financial-services, the two companies announced Thursday.

OpenFin hosts more than a hundred applications on its platform, and the integration means Symphony will be “interoperable” with those apps, the same way social media apps on your phone are able to talk with one another.

In total, Symphony has 230,000 users across 200 firms, whereas OpenFin can be found on more than 100,000 desktops across the Street.Symphony, a unicorn, announced a $63 million fundraise in May, bringing the total amount the company has raised to $234 million. OpenFin finished a $15 million round of venture funding backed by JPMorgan in February 2017. It has raised $22 million in total funding.

For new immigrants, buying a home or getting a cellphone is complicated and expensive. Even if they have financial identities and wealth in their home countries, they have no credit history in the U.S.

It’s a challenge for millions of people, and a handful of fintechs, including Nova Credit, CreditStacks, and Petal, see an opportunity to help with some creative solutions.

Others, like Deserve (formerly SelfScore) and Petal have been hoping to woo immigrants and other thin files with their own credit products, while still others like eCredable are crunching alternative data to help people build up their credit history.

And in January, CreditStacks announced a credit card product aimed at immigrant professionals who want to have a U.S. credit card in hand when they arrive in America.

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda expects growth spurt in 2018 (San Francisco Business Times), Rate: A

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda, which offers mortgages faster and at lower cost than traditional rivals, expects growth to accelerate this year as it expands into a dozen states and puts to work the $5.25 million it raised in its first venture round.

New Retail P2P Investment: The Worthy Bond (P2P Lending Expert), Rated: A

When I wrote my book on P2P Lending for the retail investor, P2P Investing 101 (the paperback version here), that came out in November, there were only 7 options for retail investors.  Those options were Lending Club and Prosper, as well as 5 options that take advantage of the adjustment to SEC Regulation A known as Reg A+.

We now have an 8th investment option.  The Worthy Bond, which uses Reg A+ and comes from Worthy Financial. By using Reg A+, the Worthy Bond is available to retail investors as a proxy savings account within the p2p lending landscape.

Prices up for January, Subaru 0-percent financing (Kelley Blue Book), Rated: A

While the average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles hit $36,270 in January, a whopping $1,360 or 3.9-percent gain over a year earlier, the ATP declined from December’s record, dropping $486 or 1.3 percent month over month.

Subaru 0-percent financing

Subaru, which has been setting sales records, typically runs tight inventories and keeps a close rein on incentives. However, through the rest of February it is offering 0-percent financing for 63 months on select models along with a couple of enticing fleet deals.

The 0-percent deal for 63 months is being extended on 2017/18 Legacy models, 2017/18 Outbacks and 2017 Foresters. On the 2018 Legacy, there’s also a $185 per month lease for three years with $2,595 down. The 2018 Outback is being offered on a 3-year lease deal for $239 per month with $1,739 down, while the 2018 Forester can be leased for 36 months at just $219 with $1,719 down.

Interest rates climb

According to Bankrate.com, the average 60-month new car loan is averaging 4.51 percent interest, a two-basis point increase over rates being offered at the end of November. Shorter 48-month loans are slightly cheaper, averaging 4.44 percent, again, two basis points higher than two months ago. On the used car side of the ledger, rates are closing in on the 5 percent level, averaging 4.97 percent on 3-year loans. That’s up from an average of 4.78 percent at the end of November.

Eyeing robo advisors, IBDs to launch new client portals (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

Independent broker-dealers are rebuilding their online presences for a digital investing era, ushering in new client portals and offering automated investing for smaller accounts.

Advisors have pushed the firms to mimic the speed and look of digital investment platforms. Digital advice clients of all kinds will soar 844% to more than 17 million by 2021, according to a September study by Aite Group. In a nod to incumbents’ services, robos have also started offering human advisors to clients.

Narmi integrates top fintech companies into digital banking platform for credit unions (CUInsight), Rated: A

Narmi, a financial technology company, showcases two of its remarkable fintech integrations – Billshark and Lemonade.

Billshark – Helping Reduce Monthly Bills for Millions of Americans

Billshark helps consumers reduce monthly bills on cable, satellite TV, wireless phone, internet and many other categories. There are currently approximately 375 million monthly bills in America and roughly 80% can be negotiated. The average amount saved per bill is $280-300.

Lemonade – Reinventing Insurance Through Artificial Intelligence

Lemonade provides a mobile-first, artificial intelligence-infused way to obtain a home insurance policy. The company’s focus is on homeowners and renters insurance, and policies start at $25 a month and $5 a month, respectively.

When fintech lite is the right small-business lending strategy (American Banker), Rated: A

Adding a community touch to automation has proved a profitable lending strategy for one bank.

Marquette Bank in Chicago has been able to digitize its lending processes and improve its credit memo creation time by upwards of 25% using technology from the cloud-based loan origination software firm Baker Hill.

Small-business lending has long been a staple of community banking, but in recent years customers have turned to online lenders and other fintechs for credit, in large part due to the speed and digital aspect of the experience.

Zelle’s next phase takes shape at BNY Mellon (American Banker), Rated: A

The banks behind the Zelle network had more in mind than P-to-P payments between consumers, and BNY Mellon is beginning the network’s evolution by targeting the business payments market.

Zelle will help support tokenized digital payments for institutional and corporate clients in a market that is notoriously resistant to automation. BNY Mellon hopes corporates will see the Zelle network’s ability to increase control over cash flow through near-instant processing.

Webster Bank Offers Customers An Automated Digital Investment Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Webster Investments, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., now offers Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP), an advisor-enhanced, digital investment platform designed to enhance customer experience by providing an additional option to manage their investments. The online investment platform was designed as an innovative option for clients seeking a technology-enabled investment solution combined with the opportunity to have a relationship with a financial advisor.

We’re partnering with SURE to bring you Small Business Insurance (Inc Authority Email), Rated: B

Small Business Insurance is an all-in-one policy that protects you and your growing business from critical risks. Your policy will cover:

  •   General liability
    • Get up to $2 Million of coverage in legal and litigation issues tied to 3rd party claims of property damage, and bodily injury and associated medical costs.
  •   Business personal property
    • Replace lost or damaged property owned by your business, such as computers, furniture, and machinery.
  •   Lost business income
    • Receive up to $250,000 in lost income if your business has to close due to a covered loss.
  •   And other coverage
    • Includes coverage for data breaches, litigious employees, non-business automobiles, and more.
United Kingdom

Openwrks, Zopa and TrueLayer get into Open Banking groove (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The UK’s major banks are being shown a clean pair of heels by non-bank competitors in the Open Banking space, with new announcements by TrueLayer in tandem with Zopa, and Openwrks demonstrating the determination of third party providers to open up access to consumer account data.

Zopa has worked with TrueLayer to create an income verification product which removes the need to manually upload documents to verify income – replacing it with Open Banking data.
Separately, Openwrks – which likewise enables providers of consumer and small business products and services to access consumer’s financial data – has become the first third party provider to successfully connect to all of the banks currently providing functional APIs (Lloyds, RBS, AIB, HSBC and Danske).

Elliott takes majority stake in new Welsh online bank (The Times), Rated: A

China

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $ 100 billion valuation – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to $5 billion in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than $100 billion, people familiar with the move told Reuters.

The new round should start with a valuation of between $80 billion to $100 billion, the people said.

China Fintech Watchdog to Step Up ICO Oversight (CoinDesk), Rated: A

A self-regulatory association that draws support from China’s banking and securities sectors is vowing to increase its oversight over cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICO) in 2018.

In its annual meeting held on Feb. 9, China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) revealed that while it has put special efforts into overseeing the sector in 2017, it expects this work to become a regular part of its 2018 agenda.
Australia

Loans.com.au slashes home loan rates for owner-occupiers, investors (mozo), Rated: AAA

Online lender, loans.com.au has today slashed rates for both owner-occupiers and investors on certain home loans, and is now offering some of the lowest mortgage rates in the market.

One of the changes was to cut the Essentials Variable 80 rate for owner-occupiers looking to make principal and interest repayments by 12 basis points, bringing it to a red hot 3.52% – the lowest rate for a loan of its kind in the Mozo database.

The rate on loans.com.au’s Offset Variable 80 for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments was also slashed by 12 basis points, bringing it down to a competitive 3.60%.

India

Online gold loan platform Rupeek gets $ 6.8 mn from Accel, Sequoia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based Rupeek, which operates an online marketplace for gold loans, has raised $6.83 million (Rs 44 crore) in a fresh funding round led by Accel Partners.

Eduvanz Financing raises funds from Blinc Advisors (livemint), Rated: A

Eduvanz Financing Pvt. Ltd, an education technology start-up that provides loans for skill development to students, has raised $500,000 in a round of funding led by Blinc Advisors, a venture capital fund, a senior executive at the start-up said.

Fintech start-up EarlySalary is making emergency loans more affordable (Business-Standard), Rated: A

Neha Kumari needed a new phone urgently after her old one was damaged during a Saturday night party. To add to her difficulties, it was the beginning of the last week of the month and the salary day was 10 days away. Missing client calls for more than a couple of days was out of the question and the weekend was expensive anyway.

Neha, who did not have a credit card, could have borrowed from friends, but most of them were as broke as she was then. And borrowing from the family was ruled out. The last time she had borrowed Rs 10,000 from a friend to book emergency tickets was three …

Preventive measures (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

This is with reference to reports on market volatility. Regulators must ensure that this trend does not end up promoting alternative investment avenues of an uncertain nature. Investor interests demand that risk-based P2P lending via online/social marketplaces be regulated. Peer lending has significantly grown and enabled borrowers with a sub-par credit history. P2P lending is highly prone to performance risks on account of a higher probability of a borrower-default, credit risks owing to poor loan-sanctioning decisions & lack of fund-monitoring post disbursal, cash drag risks because of a larger borrower-population than the available lenders, platform Risks driven by borrower insolvency or frauds or technology risks/cybersecurity breaches and market risks owing to interest rate fluctuations and unemployment risks leading to non-payments.

What’s Driving India’s Fintech Boom? (Wharton), Rated: A

With more than 200 million active users in India — the largest anywhere in the world — WhatsApp is expected to drive large volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and also become a popular platform for merchant payments. India is slated to be the first country globally to get the payments facility from WhatsApp.

Other global giants, too, are zeroing in on this space. For instance, Google has already launched its payments app Google Tez (“Tez” in Hindi means fast), while Samsung has launched Samsung Pay and Amazon has introduced Amazon Pay.

Paytm, India’s largest online payments and mobile wallet company, has invested Rs. 5,000 crore ($786 million) in mobile payments to date.

This was 13% less than $14.6 billion in 2015. On the other hand, fintech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015.

Fintech Will Change How We Bank (Business-Standard), Rated: A

In the not too distant future, there may come a time, where we cease to interact with the as we know it. which were monolithic organization who created the products, sold it directly and owned the customers are being slowly ceding ground to so called new breed companies chipping away at the edges. While regulations and strict KYC/AML regulations still enable to continue to be in business, the power they once wielded is diminishing. As Niti Aayog Chairman, Amitabh Kant said “Debit cards, credit cards and ATMs might lose relevance in the next four years”.

Peer to peer lending picks pace (Telengana Today), Rated: B

According to the latest annual report of RBI, during Q1 of FY18, as against negative incremental rise in bank credit, the non-bank sources gained space in lending. The total flow of funds to the commercial sector from non-bank sources during the period increased to Rs 1,16,600 crore while the formal banking system trailed behind.

In terms of financial assets, NBFCs recorded a healthy growth — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% in the past few years — comprising 13% of the total credit and are expected to reach nearly 18% by 2018-19.

APAC

Asia-Pacific Fintech Market to reach US$ 72 billion by 2020, finds Frost & Sullivan (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Active support and initiatives by financial regulators such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank Indonesia has enabled the Asia-Pacific Fintech ecosystem to grow significantly in 2017.

The Fintech industry in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion.

Future of Cashless Payments in Singapore

According to Ms Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal, ICT, Asia-Pacific, the mobile payments market in Singapore was estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2017. The market is still small but is growing fast. There are many supportive regional and local regulations and initiatives that will help Singapore move towards a cashless Society.

Fintech in Singapore’s SME Landscape

In the wake of the global Fintech boom, disruptive market innovations have forced a radical shift of business models in the Financial Services industry, notably within the P2P Lending segment. Frost & Sullivan believes that leading banks and financial institutions are driven to be lean and agile on multiple fronts, including but not limited to new digital services, elevated customer experiences and innovative technological solutions.

Online loan providers have recently begun targeting young adults here in their 20s and 30s in Korea in the name of “providing pocket money.” Other peer-to-peer lending platforms promote their services as an investment fund or shared wallet to relax young people’s vigilance toward the money lenders.

Blockchain spending surges in China and Asia (Shine), Rated: B

Blockchain spending in Asia Pacific excluding Japan will jump 91 percent in the five years until 2021, thanks to applications in finance and supply chain industries, said IDC in a report today.

China will see a five-year annual growth rate of 95 percent, compared with about 81 percent growth worldwide, said IDC in the report, the first blockchain report released by the company.

For example, PPDai, China’s first online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform listed in the US market, said in January it would invest 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) within three years to set up a new research institute.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 19 2018, Daily News Digest

data breaches

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Professional Loan Program hits $720M on first offering. Roofstock reaches $1B in transactions. When Zopa will open to new investors. PPDai to invest in research. Linked Finance sees profitability. Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance. Harmoney partners with DataRobot. Today’s main analysis: The most and least competitive homebuyer markets. Fundrise or Vanguard: Which is the better investment? […]

data breaches

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Professional Loan Program at $ 720 Million for First Offering (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s Professional Loan Program 2018-A has reached $720.1 million, which is just a bit lower than the final deal it had in 2017.

In this latest program, three portions of senior Class A notes worth $677.3 million will be issued. Of that figure, one $55 million Class A-1 portion is mostly secured by floating-rate loans, and it has a variable-rate interest rate, which will be calculated based on one-month Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Fixed-rate student loans will mostly back the $358.5 million in Class A-2A notes, as well as the $236.8 million in Class A-2 notes.

Why open banking and cybersecurity need each other (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The industry’s desire for greater security and protection of customer data seems at odds with its desire for more open banking; by definition, open banking requires banks to share data with third party service providers.

In the U.S. banks are striving to get ahead of their own regulators by creating data exchange standards. API-based data sharing agreements like the deals Fincity signed with Wells Fargo and Chase last year are evidence of those efforts. But banks need to move beyond those one-on-one agreements if they’re going to create a full suite of financial services to offer customers through a true open banking platform.

Source: Tearsheet

PeerIQ CEO Ram Ahluwalia: 2017 Saw a Resurgence of Growth in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ahluwalia told me;

“2017 has seen a resurgence in investor growth and confidence in online lending. ABS issuance is up about 83%.  Execution spreads have tightened substantially. This performance is all on the ABS loan side but has not translated yet into the equity valuations. “

He added that he expects to see continued attention on credit performance in 2018 as they are still seeing normalization of credit performance.

He expects 30% growth in ABS issuance for next year while adding that PeerIQ underestimated the growth for 2017.

LendingTree Ranks Most Competitive Homebuyer Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on where homebuyers will face the fiercest competition to achieve their dream of homeownership in 2018.

LendingTree looked at 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came through the LendingTree marketplace in the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study ranks cities using three criteria:

  • The share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before identifying the house they want. Buyers with financing in place are more appealing to sellers and can compete with cash buyers.
  • Average down payment percentage. Having a higher amount of money saved for a down payment can enable you to borrow more money or be offered a lower interest rate, allowing you to make a stronger offer.
  • Percentage of buyers who have prime credit (above 680). Borrowers with higher scores have more financing options to make more competitive offers. The cities/markets below are ranked for 2018 using the criteria noted above, including the relative data used to determine the ranking along with the market’s overall rank from the prior year.

California markets dominate the top 10.

Six of the top 10 most competitive housing markets are in CaliforniaSan Francisco and San Jose lead the rankings in 2018, with a vast number of credit-worthy and well-heeled borrowers making it one of the most challenging markets for prospective home shoppers.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Hits $ 1 Billion in Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, real estate marketplace Roofstock announced it has surpassed $1 billion in property transactions since the launching of its marketplace in 2016.

Roofstock Announces $ 7 Million In Additional Funding (Benzinga), Rated: A

Roofstock announced Thursday that the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley Bank had joined its latest funding round, bringing the property investing startup’s funding total to $42 million.

Gary Beasley, CEO: Roofstock is the first online marketplace created exclusively for buyers and sellers of cash-flowing, single-family rental homes that already have tenants.

Who are your investors, if any?

Roofstock has raised $68,250,000 to date, with a recent $35M Series C investment led by Canvas Ventures in October 2017. Other investors since Roofstock’s launch include Lightspeed Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Hone Capital, QED Investors, Nyca Partners, and several angel investors.

Vanguard vs. Fundrise: Which is the Better Investment Option? (Fundrise), Rated: AAA

We often get the question, “What makes a Fundrise eREIT worth investing in over the Vanguard REIT ETF?” It’s a fair question that we expected when we created the eREIT. The short answer is that Fundrise eREIT investments are lower in cost for investors than those of the Vanguard REIT ETF and also come with the potential for better returns — how our costs are lower than Vanguard requires a longer answer.

Source: Fundrise

Some of the largest REITs in which the Vanguard REIT ETF owns shares are Simon Property Group(shopping malls, worth approximately $50 billion), Equinix (office buildings, worth approximately $34 billion), and AvalonBay Communities (apartment buildings, worth $25 billion).

Vanguard charges no brokerage commissions and carries only a low investment advisory fee of 0.30%, which it reports to be lower than the industry standard of 1.02%. In addition to the advisory fee, Vanguard charges its REIT ETF investors an asset management fee of 0.11% as well as reimbursement of “expenses.”

The Fundrise Approach

Where public market investments rely on several financial organizations to perform various services from acquisition and development to offering diversified portfolios of REITs, Fundrise uses technology to consolidate these functions and reduce the number of intermediaries in the value chain.

Source: Fundrise

The real estate investment trust designation of the eREIT does not equate the services or value creation offered by the eREIT with that of a public REIT — it simply allows Fundrise to pass at least 90% of the eREIT’s earned income to investors without paying taxes at the corporate level.

Fundrise investors can invest directly into an eREIT and only pay an 0.85% asset management fee at the eREIT level. Investors who want to diversify across multiple Fundrise investments, including eFunds, can do so through one of the investment portfolios. For example, rather than choosing one eREIT or more, investors can invest in the Starter Portfolio with a minimum investment of $500. For this service, investors are charged an investment advisory fee.

Chase joins AutoFi platform (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Chase, the US consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co, has become the first US national bank to partner with fintech company AutoFi to help customers select and finance vehicles through dealers’ websites.

The move comes after the bank’s research showed that nearly half of consumers would purchase and finance vehicles online if they had the opportunity.

ForUsAll Reaches $ 500m in Assets and Raises $ 21m in Venture Capital (Business Insider), Rated: A

ForUsAll, the technology-driven 401(k) advisor to small and mid-sized businesses, today announced it has reached $500m in retirement assets under management and secured $21 million in second round financing led by Ribbit Capital, a leading global investor in financial technology. Existing investor Foundation Capital joined the round, bringing the company’s total funding to $34 million. ForUsAll will use the funds to grow the company’s customer base, accelerate technology development and hire additional staff.

CFPB Signals Shift by Dropping Payday Lender Lawsuit (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is dropping a lawsuit against a group of payday lenders associated with an American Indian tribe in a sign the regulator is changing direction under Mick Mulvaney, the acting director appointed by the Trump administration.

The agency had accused the lenders of deceiving consumers and failing to disclose the true cost of the loans, which carried interest rates as high as 950 percent a year. The agency asked for the case in federal court in Kansas to be dismissed in a court filing on Thursday, giving no details about its reasoning.

The CFPB lawsuit had targeted four companies owned by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe.

Foreign and Domestic Condo Buyers Tap $ 300 Million Fund To Close On New Condo Purchases (PRWeb), Rated: A

Three leading South Florida real estate-related companies with robust real estate experience, deep capital markets relationships, and a proven track record of originating and servicing end-user loans have joined forces to provide senior mortgage loans to non-traditional real estate buyers. The joint venture, named Pebb Yale Truss Lending, (“PYT Lending”) is comprised of Pebb Capital, GPC Truss, and Yale Mortgage. Already the enterprise has commenced loan closings for approximately 20% of the units at Echo Brickell, a luxury condominium development by Property Markets Group (“PMG”) in Miami, FL.

The First Blockchain ETFs Launched on Nasdaq, NYSE Today (coindesk), Rated: A

Reality Shares Advisors and Amplify Trust ETF launched the first blockchain-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange Arca today.

Both funds went live on their respective exchanges at 9:30 a.m. EST. Reality Shares’ Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) opened at $24.20, while Amplify’s Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) started closer to $20.

What are some of the crowdfunding basics you need to know about? (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is the opposite approach to business finance.

Crowdfunding is defined as a way of raising capital with the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors.

While crowdfunding is the umbrella term for this new way of investing and doing business, there are several types of crowdfunding.

  • Reward-based crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-peer lending – People who are risking to lend out money to strangers can create loan portfolios.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding
  • Equity crowdfunding – Equity crowdfunding has the most room for change in terms of how people invest their money.
  • Real estate crowdfunding
  • Human capital – If investors want to put in money on top athletes, there are crowdfunding available for this purpose. For instance, Fantex said it would offer an IPO on investments that track the brand value of top sports stars. Another crowdfunding site named Upstart provides money for college without piling on debt.

AI, blockchain, enhanced encryption: The fintech trends Chicago’s top techies are watching (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Here’s what Chicago’s fintech leaders are watching in 2018.

Morningstar

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Security technologies around encryption and voice will start to take shape. Investor and consumer trust in the markets, credit and technology suggest people aren’t satisfied with the norm. There aren’t enough heuristics used to encrypt data at rest and in transit, and the emergence of unique voice pattern activation — led by Amazon and Google — will start to drive changes in the industry.

Enova

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

AI and machine learning continue to grab headlines, and for good reason: they have the potential to improve every aspect of business.

PEAK6 Investments

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Luke Peeler, software engineer: Blockchain technology.

The Future of Financial Services for the Underbanked: Tradition, Innovation, Regulation (LendIt), Rated: B

Traditional services used by the underbanked include check cashing, cash advance loans, and money transfers. Many view these services as overly expensive and behind the times, and an emerging ecosystem is leveraging fintech innovation to provide improved offerings. However, there’s a strong case made by industry researchers that the traditional, non-bank financial providers remain attractive to their customers, especially compared to the costs of a using a bank account.

  • Joe Coleman, CEO of RiteCheck
  • Rishi Kumar, Founder of Kashable
  • Cathy Mahon, President & CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
  • Lisa Servon, Professor of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania

Guidewire Partners With Plug and Play to Foster Innovation in P&C Insurance (Business Insider), Rated: B

Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), a provider of software products to Property and Casualty (P&C) insurers, today announced it has joined Plug and Play’s ecosystem to advance P&C insurance innovation and collaboration. Plug and Play is a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in 12 verticals. Guidewire joins as a Corporate Partner focused on the Insurance vertical.

VPC recruits Kushman as principal and capital markets head (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Todd Kushman joins as a principal and head of capital markets. Kushman is based in New York.

Kushman will lead the firm’s capital markets initiatives, which includes optimizing and identifying new alternative investment product offerings.

BB&T creates $ 50m fintech investment fund (Retail Banker), Rated: B

BB&T, a US-based bank holding company, has decided to set aside $50m to invest in or buy emerging digital technology firms as part of its strategy to boost its competitive profile and trim operational expenses.

United Kingdom

ZOPA LENDING QUEUE: WHEN WILL ZOPA RE-OPEN TO NEW INVESTORS? (Orca), Rated: AAA

There was extensive media coverage in October of last year surrounding Zopa, the largest consumer-focused peer to peer lender in the UK, and when it will re-open its doors to new investors who have been waiting in the Zopa lending queue – some since early 2017. It’s the turn of 2018, and some members in the queue may be seeing signs of promise.

There are 26,000 people in the Zopa “wait list” (as of 9th January). With approximately 60,000 active customers, this influx will represent a 43% increase in lenders at the platform; impressive, given the time it’s taken the platform which was founded in 2005 to acquire its existing customer-base.

U.K. Fintech Nuvo Launches Facebook Chatbot For Financial Advice on Mortgages (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

AI-powered fintech Nuvo today launched a Facebook chatbot that helps people find the best mortgage deal.

Network ROI completes employee buy-out thanks to ThinCats £1m funding (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

A Midlothian-based IT firm has completed an employee buy-out after receiving £1m in funding from alternative finance specialist ThinCats.

Founded in 2003 by Sean Elliot, Network ROI employs 32 people providing managed IT and connectivity services to organisations throughout the UK.

Fintech to help first-time buyers with Rent Recognition Challenge for startups (City A.M.), Rated: A

A new competition has been launched to get innovative startups using technology to help renters use this payments history as a record of credit worthiness. The idea is that a tool or service can be used by lenders and credit reference agencies as part of an assessment for a mortgage.

First announced in the Autumn Budget, the Rent Recognition Challenge is now open for entries, with a potential prize of £2m for fintechs working on this idea.

Six proposals will get £100,000 each to get started on a prototype between March and October, after which that will be narrowed down to three by a panel of judges with more cash up for grabs.

 

IFA launches investment service for dormant clients (FT Adviser), Rated: A

IFA firm Symphony is offering a white-label version of provider FinchTech’s non-advised robo-service to allow its clients to invest through its website without having to pay for advice.

For a platform fee of 0.25 per cent, investors are given access to four mainstream investment portfolios and four socially responsible investment portfolios via FinchTech, with equity/non-equity weightings ranging from a ‘cautious’ 35/65 split to the ‘adventurous’ 85/15.

BUSINESS SHOWCASE : IGNITION WEALTH IRELAND (Irish Tech News), Rated: B

Ignition Wealth Ireland is the European subsidiary of Australia’s leading digital financial advice provider Ignition Wealth. We assist large financial institutions integrating new technology into their current processes and systems  and we help them to reimagine how their customers navigate the financial advice experience.

China

PPDai to invest in research institute (Shanghai Daily), Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform listed in the US market, said yesterday that it will invest 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) within three years to set up a new research institute.

The money invested in the new PPDai Smart Finance Institute will be used to fund artificial intelligence, blockchain, finance cloud and Big Data sectors, said Zhang Jun, co-founder and chief executive of Shanghai-based PPDai.

European Union

Linked Finance eyes profitability as revenue and lending levels jump (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform which has signed over 1,200 loans for Irish businesses, has said it is on track to be profitable this year.

The company, which is seeking to become the biggest non-bank lender to SMEs in Ireland, recorded a €1.1 million net loss in the 12 months to the end of April 2017, compared to a €1.2 million loss in the previous year.

Shareholders’ deficit amounted to €2.7 million at the end of the reporting period, as against €1.7 million a year earlier as accumulated losses increased from €2.2 million to €3.3 million.

FinTech, Robo Advisers, and the Soul of Swiss Banking (Mises Institute), Rated: AAA

As one Swiss economics journal put it, the most contentious conflicts (and partnerships) will be between “startups that are completely reengineering decades-old practices, traditional power players who are furiously trying to adapt with their own innovations and total disruption of established technology & processes”. That is to say:

  • Traditional Retail Banks vs. Online-Only Banks: Traditional retail banks will always retain the cachet of security and stability. Online-only banks, however, are asserting themselves more aggressively in claiming to offer the same services with higher rates and lower fees.
  • Traditional Lenders vs. Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces: P2P lending marketplaces are growing faster than traditional lenders—only time will tell if the banks strategy of creating their own small loan networks will be successful
  • Traditional Asset Managers vs. Robo-Advisors: Companies like Betterment feature robo-advisors offer lower fees and lower minimums; meanwhile, the larger traditional asset managers are creating their own robo-products while providing the kind of personalized attention for which high net worth clients are willing to pay quite generously.
  • Traditional Wealth Management vs. Automated Advice: a plethora of new software platforms and apps feature digital options, including mobile telephone payment services, automated wealth management advice, price comparison apps, tailored social media groups and crowdfunding systems. On the other side, the exclusivity of one-on-one attention is forever and very possibly will take on even more cachet as the somewhat sterile egalitarianism of digital banking erodes the cultural hierarchy of status.
  • Traditional Clearing Systems vs. Blockchain. This latter can store and distribute crypto-currencies (such as Bitcoin) and digital contracts (such as land deeds) without the need for banks or formal clearing systems. Proponents of Blockchain maintain that it promises “to reduce fees, improve security and bypass the volatility of central bank controlled fiat currencies”. Major technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba are also joining this trend.

CoinLoan ICO Reaches Major Milestones as it Launches MVP and Enables Direct Fiat Investment (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Peer to peer fintech startup, CoinLoan, recently rolled out the first version of their peer-to-peer lending platform. Investors were thrilled with the results (try it for yourself here, and are eagerly awaiting the end of the ICO and listing on exchanges soon after.

CoinLoan has also recently enabled direct fiat investment in their ICO. This unique option enables investments of $5,000 or more in USD or EUR in exchange for CLT tokens.

CoinLoan has created a system of secured peer-to-peer lending, where borrowers deposit various crypto assets for a loan in their preferred fiat currency.

International

Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Revolut is launching international medical and dental insurance. You can subscribe using the company’s app for £1 per day or more depending on the options.

By default, insurance coverage costs £1 per day for medical and dental insurance. You can add an option for winter sports and you can also cover your friends and family.

Australia/New Zealand

AI helps Harmoney improve ability to assess credit risk (CIO), Rated: AAA

Harmoney is working with DataRobot to improve the performance of its credit risk assessment process.

“With our deployment of DataRobot, we’re now using artificial intelligence to reduce risk for our lenders,” says Brad Hagstrom, joint-CEO of Harmoney.

Nine launches financial advice website 9Saver.com.au (Mumbrella), Rated: A

9Saver.com.au will aggregate the cost of living and shopping segments run across Nine News, Today, Today Extra, A Current Affair and 60 Minutes every week.

India

Startup eco-system looks forward to the budget for addressing tax dilemma (ET Rise), Rated: A

The Indian startup eco-system is looking forward to the union budget eagerly for addressing the tax dilemma. With high-quality entrepreneurs, good ideas and the very important funding ecosystem, startups have become an integral part of the India’s economic growth and job creation.

Asia

Banks, regulators lack skills to cope with pace of fintech innovation (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Both regulators and industry officials lack the right analytical and data skills to cope with the wave of disruption washing over the financial industry, according to the technology officers at leading financial companies at Thursday’s Nikkei Asia300 Summit in Singapore.

Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, said there are “definitely no” people with up-to-date skills among the regulators, which is slowing down the pace of change for traditional institutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor